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Round up of legislation, case law, guidance and news: July 2021

Posted on 30/07/21 in Housing Matters

Round up of legislation, case law, guidance and news: July 2021

Welcome to the latest monthly round-up from Housing Matters.

Legislation

Cases

Guidance and news

Legislation

Interim period for possession claims extended

The interim period for possession claims has been extended to 30 November 2021. During the interim period landlords and lenders must follow specific rules in relation to new or stayed claims.

The Civil Procedure (Amendment No.4) Rules 2021 SI 2021/855

Seven days notice of eviction where a previous eviction is not carried out

From 7 August 2021, where execution of a warrant or writ of possession does not take place on the date specified on the notice of eviction, a further notice must be delivered to the premises at least 7 days before the new eviction date. 

The Civil Procedure (Amendment No.4) Rules 2021 SI 2021/855

Shorter notice periods for tenants in rent arrears

From 1 August 2021. landlords of secure and assured tenants can serve two months' notice on rent arrears grounds for arrears of less than four months' rent. Where there are more than four months' worth of arrears, landlords have been able to serve a four week notice since 1 June 2021.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No.2) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/564 

People experiencing domestic abuse are now in automatic priority need

From 5 July 2021, people who are homeless because of domestic abuse have an automatic priority need for homelessness assistance. A new definition of domestic abuse applies when determining whether a perons is homeless or in priority need. 

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (Commencment No.1 and Savings Provisions) Regulaations 2021 SI 2021/797

End of the grace period for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme

The deadline for most EEA nationals and their family members to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021. People who applied to the scheme before 30 June but have not yet received a decision will still have temporary protection. People with temporary protection may be eligible for homelessness assistance if they meet additional criteria.  

The Citizens' Rights (Application Deadline and Temporary Protection) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/1209

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Cases

Rules excluding people with pre-settled status from benefits not contrary to EU law

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that legislation stating EU citizens with pre-settled status were not eligible for universal credit was not contrary to EU law. National authorities may only refuse an application for social assistance after ascertaining that this will not result in a violation of their fundamental rights, including the right to human dignity and the rights of the child. Authorities may take into account all of the forms of assistance provided for in national law. 

The UK Supreme Court has stayed the hearing of a similar case pending the decision of the CJEU. (Fratila v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2020] EWCA 1741) 

Case C-709/20

Replacement joint tenatns can claim for a breach of tenancy deposit rules

In a County Court appeal, the court held that replacement tenants under a joint tenancy had a right to claim against a landlord for a breach of tenancy depsoit rules if they had paid their share of the deposit to the departing tenant. Each 'churn' of the tenancy created a new requirement to protect the deposit. 

Sturgiss & Anor v Boddy & Ors (2021) EW Misc 10 (CC)

CCTV footage of racially aggravated gestures and language sufficient to cause alarm or distress

A Housing Association successfully brought committal proceedings for breach of an injunction against a tenant who engaged in racist harassment of his neighbour. Racially aggravated language and gestures were used in a communal pathway and captured on CCTV. It did not matter that the neighbour was not present during the conduct, the fact they would see the CCTV footage was sufficient to cause harassment, alarm or distress. 

Molloy v BPHA Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 1035

Unauthorised occupiers evicted where rights under Article 10 and 11 engaged

The High Court found that protesters occupying Clapham Common could be evicted even though their rights under Article 10 and Article 11 were engaged. The occupation interfered with the rights of the public justifying a 'pressing social need' to make a possession order. 

London Borough of Lambeth v Grant & Ors (Rev 1) [2021] EWHC (QB)

Leaseholder able to use break clause where property left without fixtures

The Court of Appeal held that a lessee was not prevented from exercising a break clause due to leaving the property in a poor state of repair and with missing fixtures. The requirement to give vacant possession meant leaving the property free of people, chattels and interests. The claimant's remedy was to claim compensation for loss caused by missing fittings and disrepair. 

Capital Park Leeds Ltd v Global Radio Services Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 995

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Guidance and news

Updates to Homelessness Code of Guidance

Chapter 21: Domestic Abuse has been updated following changes brought in by the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. Amendments have also been made to Chapter 8: Priority need. Chapter 25: Modern Slavery and Trafficking has also been updated. 

Chapter 7: Eligibility for assistance has been updated following the end of the grace period for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme.  

Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities

Updated guidance on EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme: Information for Local Authorities guidance contains information about temporary protection, late applications and reasonable grounds for applying after the 30 June 2021 deadline. 

EU Settlement Scheme: information for local authorities

Updates to MHCLG coronavirus guidance

Following the end of restrictions on 19 July 2021, the government has updated its non-statutory guidance for landlords and tenants, as well as on possession proceedings, moving home, and homelessness hostels. 

Guidance for landlords and tenants 

Moving home during coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Understanding the possession action process: guidance for landlords and tenants 

Guidance for commissioners and providers of hostel services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping 

New easy read version of the How to Rent guide

MHCLG have produced an easy read version of the How to rent guide. Private landlords are required to provide tenants with a copy of the prescribed document How to rent: the checklist for renting in England. If a landlord fails to provide a copy of this document before service of a section 21 notice, that notice will be invalid. It is unclear whether providing the easy read version is sufficient. 

GOV.UK: How to rent

Homelessness statistics: January to March 2021

MHCLG have released statistics on statutory homelessness for the first quarter of 2021. 68,250 households were assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness, down 10.7% from January to March 2020. The number of households in temporary accommodation was 95,450, up 3.5% from 92,190 on 31 March 2020. 

Statutory homelessness in England: January to March 2021

Report into local authority use of algorithms in welfare benefit systems

A report by civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch into the use of predictive analytics and algorithmic decision making in welfare benefits, including how fraud risk scores can be influenced by factors such as age or number of children.  

Welfare data watch

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